Life’s dreams will be of you
And of the lords of days you’ll be.
I’ll be the girl alive in your dream
Love of absence and nothingness.
The blue light will write itself
For you, morning’s thorn
White arbutus of sun and Sunday,
That clarity that licks roof-tiles
In long waves along the house,
Light living in air’s
Colours or the perfect
Music of forms.
I will know of places where
Dangerous strange beasts live.
I will know of diapasons drawn
In the silent skin of some cockerel,
The feeble, clear and imprecise voice
In night’s dark breeze
Coming over the horse’s back,
A second the same, forgotten
In an empty quater of the mute hearth.
And I will know of animals that pasture
Grazing a gurgle with spring’s cuckoo
In the valley’s depth and distance.
In shadowy footpaths
I will be a tone deaf barking,
Terrified of a dog-voiced lion.
On the skin of midday
You will be written of as
The greenness of trees,
The red heat of fires,
Or yellows playing in the branches.
I will see spaces darken
With no chamber music,
Where mysterious words
Sleep, unlit by the moon,
Where all you can sense is
The orchestra of colours
Insistent in the hills
That paints nightmares in a window.
I’ll be two horses’ blue peace.
And of the lords of days you’ll be
And you will be the good, white,
Obedient bride of the house.
And I will belong to absence,
Trembling shadow, nothingness
Naked and alone, belonging to no one.
This poem by Miguel Allende comes from Campo de los Patos.
It is an ambitious magazine of Asturian culture which should find a place on all university bookshelves that have serious departments of Hispanic studies. This first issue is dedicated to German culture and has a wide range of articles and translations. It is not possible to do it justice with a quick skim reading.
I was attracted to this idea of writing a poem directly about a painting, although it is rather different from my own experiments with words and images. The writer has caught the naivity of Marc’s painting admirably in his succession of images that roll out in vaguely indistinct and surreal combinations.
It is also a kind of translation. I cannot think of tiled roofs without thinking of the typical tiled cottages and barns of Asturias and mountain valleys with a spring cuckoo are resonant with local colour.
Frans Marc is strongly associated in my mind with my adolescent years when I was discovering painting and went to a large exhibition of German Expressionist painting at the Royal Academy in London. At the time I was completely bowled over by Kirchner and found Marc less appealing. I think you love angst as a teen in a way you never quite recapture as you mellow out into adulthood.
I am grateful to Allende for making me have a good look again at Marc!